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Job (Calgary): Artistic Director – Downstage

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Job (Calgary): Artistic Director – Downstage


Please visit for full details and the posting in .pdf format.


Application Deadline: April 30, 2018


As we enter our fifteenth season, Downstage is seeking a visionary artist and community builder to lead the company into its next stage. Our new Artistic Director will report to the Board of Directors and work in close collaboration with our Managing Director, with work beginning in September, 2018. The ideal candidate for this position is an experienced theatre artist with a gift for collaboration and a genuine passion for social justice, access, and diversity.

THE DOWNSTAGE PERFORMANCE SOCIETY (Downstage) is a not-for-profit theatre company and registered charity based in Calgary, Alberta.

OUR MANDATE is to produce Canadian theatre that creates meaningful conversation around social issues.

OUR MISSION is to achieve a social impact through artistic excellence. We identify the conversations that are most vital to today and tomorrow. We are active accomplices to crucial organizations and individuals working on pressing social issues. We plant seeds for action beyond the theatre through theatrical works that diffuse polarization, lessen apathy and create understanding and connection.


  • We value the health and well-being of people first, including our employees, artists, board, volunteers and community partners.
  • We have a strong focus on creating safe, inclusive and accessible spaces, bringing in people who are new to our theatres and our artistic processes.
  • We engage with the complexity of both the issues we tackle and the people impacted, and embolden the creative voices of all involved.


Downstage is a dynamic organization in a time of transition and growth.

  • We are moving away from being a founder-driven organization, with the company’s previous leaders having served for 14 and 10 years.
  • We have expanded our artistic practice to include works co-created with community members who don’t identify as professional artists, but who are connected to the issues we explore.
  • We are working to deepen our social impact by creating a clear evaluation framework, documenting our approaches, and testing new ways to connect performances to small actions outside the theatre.
  • We are looking to grow our human and financial resources to be able to respond more readily to opportunities, partnerships and emerging social issues.


Downstage’s next Artistic Director will have three essential qualifications:

1. A GIFT FOR COLLABORATION. Whether working with staff, volunteers, professional artists or community co-creators, the ideal candidate will be empowering, compassionate, and transparent. They will design creative processes that embolden the creative voices of all involved including thoughtful supports for collaborators who may face barriers to participation. They are a perceptive and curious listener. They will bring or be able to develop deep connections locally and form long-term community partnerships. They have experience with delegation, negotiation and resolving conflicts.

are open to applications from artistic leaders from a variety of theatre disciplines, not only directors. The ideal candidate is a theatre artist with a deep knowledge of theatrical production processes, Canadian playwrights, and different approaches to new work development. They will have the ability to write and speak persuasively about their own artistic vision and to champion the
work of Canadian creators.

3. A GENUINE PASSION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, ACCESS, DIVERSITY AND EQUITY. This passion will lead the ideal candidate to continuously seek out learning opportunities to help Downstage live its values more deeply, and to find innovative ways to increase access for artists and audiences. They will be committed to making a meaningful contribution as a Calgary resident.

Previous experience in a leadership role in an arts company, reporting to a Board of Directors, and managing budgets are all assets but not required.


Artistic Direction & Leadership

  • Conceive and implement an artistic vision in alignment with the company’s strategic framework with a focus on season programming, selection of creative teams, and the development of new works
  • Provide supervision and leadership to staff, artistic teams and volunteers
  • Assist in the creation of programming and season budgets, including long-term forecasts
  • Work collaboratively with the Managing Director to translate artistic needs and values into operational strategies, and to ensure that the day-to-day operations of the company are effective
  • Participate in the company’s activities through your artistic practice
  • Secure rehearsal and production venues as needed
  • Negotiate co-production or presentation agreements where applicable
  • Liaise with potential presenters for the company’s touring work
  • Curate rentals for the Motel Theatre with the Production Manager
  • Attend key events as a representative of and advocate for the company

Removing Barriers & Community Engagement

  • Devise and implement pre- and post-show audience engagement including facilitated conversations
  • Devise and implement new approaches to address barriers to attendance
  • Form strong, mutually beneficial relationships with community groups to further our strategic goals and social impact
  • Work with the Managing Director and outside evaluators as appropriate to assess the impact of our work

Fundraising & Reporting

  • Participate in fundraising activities with the Managing Director including writing material for grant proposals, attending fundraising events, cultivating donors and fostering strong relationships with existing and potential funders
  • Attend meetings of the Board of Directors and its committees, including the timely preparation of Board reports and participation in strategic planning

Marketing, Publicity & Online Presence

  • Work with a contracted artist to create season artwork
  • Write promotional copy for all shows and events
  • Oversee the design and printing of all marketing materials and advertisements
  • Ensure the company’s website and display cases are kept up-to-date
  • Maintain an active and engaging social media presence for the company
  • Design and send e-newsletters
  • Oversee media relations including engaging a publicist for shows where appropriate


This is a full-time, salaried position. Work is expected to take place in the Downstage office in Arts Commons in downtown Calgary, with occasional attendance or support at events on evenings and weekends. The salary range for this full time position is $40,000-$45,000 depending on experience, with additional medical benefits and relocation assistance (if applicable).


To apply for this position, please submit a resume and letter of interest that specifically addresses your experience in and commitment to the essential qualifications listed in this call. Please submit these materials to the Downstage Artistic Director Search Committee at by end of day on Monday, April 30, 2018. We will confirm receipt of all applications.

Initial interviews: Early to mid-May.
Final interviews: Mid-May. Candidates will be asked to share an example season of programming and engagement, and provide two professional references.
Board announces new Artistic Director: Early June.
Artistic Director begins work: Late August or early September.

We are committed to employment equity and diversity, and strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals.

Theatre Alberta does not necessarily endorse the organizations and/or individuals submitting Classified listings on our site. It is the responsibility of each patron using the Theatre Alberta Classifieds to research the integrity of the organizations who submit listings to which they are applying/responding and to verify specific information, especially pertaining to the job/audition listings and youth listings.

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